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What Is A-Roll?

A-roll is the primary or principal footage captured for a film, TV, or video production. A simple rule of thumb is that if the director directs it (supervises) the shot, then it it A-roll footage.

Here are some of the key details about A-Roll footage:

  • It generally contains the main action shots featuring key actors or subjects.
  • Referred to as the “first string” footage compared to secondary B-roll.
  • Captured with great care and high production value as it drives the story.
  • Often meticulously storyboarded and rehearsed beforehand.
  • Tends to use the best cameras, lighting, angles, and composition.
  • Usually shot specifically for the current production vs stock footage.
  • Main dialogue scenes and narrative thrust typically come from A-roll.
  • Can also include important establishing, transition, and lead-in/out shots.
  • Music videos and commercials may consist solely of high-value A-roll.
  • Supplemented and enhanced later by additional B-roll in editing.
  • Director and cinematographer devote maximum attention to capturing key A-roll shots.

When filming with multiple cameras simultaneously, the “A” camera should always be clearly marked so that editors know which clips contain the primary focus of each scene when they’re ready to start piecing everything together in post-production.

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Why Is A-Roll Important in Filmmaking?

It’s important for filmmakers to have the right A-roll footage, as it can make or break their project. A-roll is the main video and audio footage that a filmmaker captures during filming. It’s often referred to as the ‘hero’ footage, because it’s what makes up most of the movie.

Preparing A Roll properly requires careful planning and attention to detail in order to capture the best quality images and sound recordings. When done well, this will help bring out all the nuances of a film’s story, helping viewers feel more connected with characters and events onscreen.

In terms of editing, A-roll also plays an important role. Once all the footage has been captured, an editor will go through it frame by frame to ensure everything is in its proper place within a film sequence. They’ll also add supplemental B-roll footage – such as alternate angles or shots – alongside A-Roll in order to create a visually interesting piece that flows seamlessly from start to finish.

Overall, having good quality A-Roll is essential for any successful filmmaking project; without it you wouldn’t be able to tell your story as powerfully or effectively as you’d hope – regardless of how good your script may be! So whether you’re just starting out or already an experienced filmmaker – don’t forget about preparing your A-Roll carefully and paying attention to every detail – only then will you get great results!


Wrapping up, A-Roll is an essential part of filmmaking. It is the main footage that captures all the important scenes and moments in a film. Without it, our favorite movies wouldn’t be what they are today.


Are There Any Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of My A-Roll?

To capture the best a-roll footage, frame each shot carefully and ensure your audio is clear. Experiment with angles and lighting for dynamic visuals. Be creative and organized when editing to get the most out of your footage!

Are There Any Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting an A-Roll?

When shooting an A-Roll, avoid common lighting and camera angle mistakes. Make sure your shots are well-lit and framed properly for the best results. Pay attention to detail and be creative with your angles – it’ll make all the difference!